North Cyprus  



"Hoshgeldiniz" - A warm welcome is assured from the Cypriots...

'Hoshgeldiniz' - A warm smile and a welcome are typical Cypriot characteristics

Hospitality is one of the cornerstones of the Turkish-Cypriot way of life. Following Koranic tenets and their naturally friendly instincts, The Turkish-Cypriot are a most gracious and generous hosts. Even the poorest peasant in a remote Karpas peninsula feels bound to honour his/her guest ("misafir") in the best possible manner. Hospitality taken to such lengths that a foreign guest often feels s/he is suffering from an overdose of it after being plied with food, and drinks for hours and being unable to refuse anything, lest s/he hurts his /her host's feelings.

In addition to ensuring his/her guest's material well being, the Cypriot-Turks make every effort to converse, no matter what linguistic barriers might exist. However, note that in this charming island republic, aspects of British culture and heritage are subtle but visible everywhere. Most people in Northern Cyprus speak good English, drive on the left, and English Pound Sterling is welcomed as an alternative payment to Lira.

Let us leave you with this observation by a foreign journalist about the traditional Turkish-Cypriot hospitality: 

"Northern Cyprus was as good as we'd been told: miles of untainted beaches lapped by clear blue water, superb weather, cheap prices. From the moment we landed ... ...we were overwhelmed by hospitality. It was as if we and the Turkish Cypriots were old friends who'd been long parted." 
(Mail on Sunday, `You' Magazine) 


Cyprus Coffee Houses

Turkish coffee is an everyday part of the popular culture
Turkish coffee is an everyday part of the popular culture

Even the smallest village in Northern Cyprus has its coffee-house or "kahve", where men can talk, sip Turkish coffee, and play the national game of back- gammon ("tavla"). 

In some coffee-houses you might still find men still smoking their hubble-bubble pipes ("nargile") though this is about to be a slowly dissapearing tradition.

Hamam (Turkish Baths)

Owing to the emphasis placed on cleanliness in Turkish society, when the Ottoman Turks conquered Cyprus they built many public baths ("hamam") in major towns in the island. Of these old baths, only two are still operating in Nicosia, though larger hotels have their own Turkish baths. There are separate baths for men and women, or when there is only one bath, different days or times are allocated to men and women.

After entering the "hamam", and leaving one's cloths in the cubicle, one proceeds, wrapped in a towel ("peshtemal") to the "göbek tashi", a large heated stone in the middle, where one perspires and is rubbed down by a bath attendant ("tellak" or masseur). If the heat proves too much, one can retire to a cooler room for a while. This method of bathing is most refreshing and many of the old marble baths are very interesting, architecturally.

Turkish-Cypriot Handicrafts